London Blockchain Conference 2024: nChain’s Christine Leong talks making Web3 tech user-friendly

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“If your technology is not built for the masses, you will not get the adoption,” says Christine Leong. In her presentation on Day 3 of the London Blockchain Conference 2024, the nChain Chief Information Officer delved into how Web3 can expand beyond the technophiles and appeal to the majority who only care about user experience.

User experience is a challenge that goes beyond Web3. According to Leong, most innovators, even in Web2, focus on the technical aspects to deliver the most advanced product in their category at the expense of making it intuitive, accessible, cheap, and easy to use.

“A lot of technology dies because of poor user experience,” she told the audience.

Christine Leong at London Blockchain Conference 2024

She singled out Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) as one company that has proven that all customers care about is the experience. While the company has some of the most advanced technology in the world, all its customers want to know is how easy it is to make a few clicks and have their products delivered to their doorstep. Whether Amazon uses robots in the warehouses or delivers the products via drones is secondary.

“It’s ultimately about the masses, not about building the technology that’s so great that only three people can use it,” she added.

How can Web3 deliver a great user experience and spark adoption?

One fundamental principle of providing a great experience with any technology is being user-centric. In her two-decade career in tech, Leong has learned that “users don’t care what’s under the hood.”

Speed is critical, she added. We live in an era where an extra second can cost any tech product its customers, and Web3 shouldn’t expect to be judged by different standards, Leong believes. Speed extends to having a simple onboarding process and reducing the steps necessary to satisfy a customer’s needs to a minimum.

Speed should not come at the expense of security, with hackers employing advanced AI-boosted malware.

Christine Leong at London Blockchain Conference 2024

In her interaction with other techies, Leong has also learned about the need for social features and a sense of community. As digital communities continue to grow, it’s essential for any tech platform to offer users an opportunity to connect, even when the product or service is unrelated to social platforms.

Even with all these factors considered, the nChain CIO observed that any technology will become obsolete quickly if it doesn’t evolve. To illustrate, she referred to contactless payments in the U.K.; when they launched nearly two decades ago, they were limited to £10 payment limits. Their success was down to targeting the suitable initial use case in transport systems, and over the years, they have evolved to increase security and raise the limits.

nChain has been applying these lessons, Leong stated. In one example, she revealed that the blockchain firm was behind the mobile app for ComplexCon, a curated festival that brings together leading artists and brands for a weekend of art, music, fashion, food, and more.

Christine Leong at London Blockchain Conference 2024

In the festival’s March Hong Kong edition, nChain designed an app through which over 32,000 attendees could scan QR codes for payments or to earn digital collectibles. Leong noted that the event had the perfect target audience, as Asians are more familiar with QR codes, and the festival mostly appeals to the younger tech-savvy generation.

In line with enabling developers to build easy-to-use Web3 applications, nChain recently rolled out its product suite platform. Leong described it as a “one-stop shop for all Web3 tools.”

Leong concluded her presentation by reminding the audience that users always remember the experience, never the tech underneath.

“In the words of Bill Gates, ‘The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life,’” she summed up.

Watch: ComplexCon Hong Kong takes attendees on ‘phygital’ journey with nChain app

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